Money for nothing
Here’s an easy money saver for 2009: don’t fall victim to a scammer. The current global financial situation means that now, more than ever, you can’t afford to lose money to scammers.
That’s the message from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs this Fraud Awareness Week (2-9 March).
Scams are deliberate attempts to take your money, your bank details, or your identity, and give you nothing in return. Scammers are often based overseas and are hard to catch. So any money you give the scammer is almost impossible to recover once it’s gone.
The best way to protect yourself from scams is to know what a scam looks like and avoid it.
What does a scam look like? There are many different types of scams and scammers are always coming up with new ways to part you with your money. Scammers will contact you by phone, email, text message, letter, over the internet and sometimes in person. Watch out for requests or offers from strangers that:
- pressure you into acting quickly
- promise unrealistic earnings
- ask for money straight away
- use emotive words and sound desperate
- don’t have a real street address
- or claim not to be scams.
Offers might also come from friends or family that have already been caught up in the scam.
How to avoid being scammed
When you get an offer that is too good to be true, then throw it out, delete it, or hang up. If it is from an email don’t even click on it. Sometimes clicking on an email or link will cause viruses and spyware to be downloaded onto your computer.
If it seems like it is genuine and from a company you know, then ring the bank or company that sent you the letter or email to check. Always look up the phone number in the phonebook. Don’t use any contact information from the letter or email, it is probably fake.
Never send money to strangers, especially overseas. Once it is gone it is much more difficult to get it back.
When deciding on investments or work opportunities always get independent professional advice. A genuine business will let you take time to do some research. Even legitimate investments can be risky, so you should take time to research and assess the offer.
Fraud Awareness Week
Fraud Awareness Week aims to raise New Zealander’s awareness about how they can spot scams, protect themselves from scams, and report a scam (via the Scamwatch website) to help protect others.
Now in its fourth year, the Fraud Awareness campaign is run in New Zealand by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and the Commerce Commission as part of a global initiative.